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Late vagal inhibition in neurons of the ventrolateral medulla oblongata in the rat

Zagon, A; Ishizuka, K; Rocha, I; Spyer, KM; (1999) Late vagal inhibition in neurons of the ventrolateral medulla oblongata in the rat. NEUROSCIENCE , 92 (3) 877 - 888.

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Abstract

Stimulation of cervical vagal afferents elicits long-lasting inhibitory effects in a variety of neuronal populations, although little is known concerning the cellular mechanisms that are involved in these effects. In the present study, the electrophysiological characteristics of responses elicited by cumulative activation of vagal afferents were examined in neurons of the rostral ventrolateral medulla oblongata, which play an important role in the coordination of cardiovascular and other Visceral activities. The study has focused on the late-onset, slow inhibitory component of vagal responses, which is likely to affect the temporal modulation of postsynaptic effects.Vagal stimulation elicited four distinct response patterns in intracellularly penetrated neurons (n = 78): excitation, inhibition, excitation-inhibition and inhibition-inhibition. The late inhibitory component was encountered in 43 (55%) of the cells, including five putative medullospinal neurons. It was due to a postsynaptic hyperpolarization which reversed at potentials more negative than -83 mV. The voltage dependency, as well as the average onset latency (93 +/- 3.0 ms), duration (270 +/- 16.5 ms) and amplitude (1.3 +/- 0.2 mV as measured at resting membrane potentials), of late inhibition were clearly different from those of the short-latency inhibitory response. The differences in the voltage dependency and time-course of the short-latency responses and the late inhibition indicate that they are mediated by different central relays. In the majority of neurons, late inhibition could be elicited by stimulating only myelinated vagal afferents. The magnitude of the response was, however, significantly enhanced in 63% of the examined cells when the intensity of stimulation was raised to recruit further myelinated and non-myelinated fibres. This indicates that late vagal inhibition is often elicited by a cumulative activation of convergent afferent inputs. The intracellularly labelled vagally responsive neurons were present at all rostrocaudal levels of the rostral ventrolateral medulla, with an accumulation in the region of the lateral paragigantocellular nucleus. Neurons that exhibited late vagal inhibition were dominant in the juxtafacial region of this nucleus.Due to its slow time-course, late vagal inhibition may contribute to a tonic modulation of the activity of neurons in the rostral ventrolateral medulla oblongata. It is proposed that late vagal inhibition plays an important role in the temporal integration of sensory inputs in neurons of the rostral ventrolateral medulla oblongata. The time-course and strength of this modulatory effect are related to the level of activity in those Visceral sensory inputs that converge onto the inhibitory interneurons that mediate late inhibition to rostral ventrolateral medulla oblongata neurons. (C) 1999 IBRO. Published by Elsevier Science Ltd.

Type:Article
Title:Late vagal inhibition in neurons of the ventrolateral medulla oblongata in the rat
Keywords:IPSP, in vivo intracellular recording, late-onset hyperpolarization, rat, vagus, ventrolateral medulla oblongata, BAROSENSITIVE NEURONS, TRACTUS-SOLITARIUS, CONSCIOUS RABBITS, BRAIN-STEM, RECEPTORS, STIMULATION, NUCLEUS, GABA, BARORECEPTOR, MECHANISMS
UCL classification:UCL > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences > Biosciences (Division of)

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